Thursday, January 28, 2010
Fistric avoids suspension for helmet hit
By Richard Durrett
FRISCO, Texas -- The NHL fined Dallas Stars defenseman Mark Fistric $2,500 for punching Calgary forward Eric Nystrom with Nystrom's helmet during a fight in the first period of Wednesday's 4-3 Stars win over Calgary.
The league did not suspend Fistric, who pleaded his case with Colin Campbell, NHL executive VP and director of hockey operations in a conference call Thursday.
"When I look at the tape, it's obviously not the way that I felt it was," Fistric said. "The helmet got caught in my hand and I went to swing and the helmet was still there. I dropped it right away once I realized it was still there. Anyone that knows me knows that not only was it my first fight in a long time, but I haven't had any history of being a dirty player or anything like that.
"It was heat of the moment and you lose track of stuff. When adrenaline is going, you lose track of things. It's not what I wanted to do. I meant no harm to Eric and I was glad that he came back and he was fine and there was nothing wrong with him. I just have to move on from it."
Fistric was given a match penalty about eight minutes into the game after Nystrom's helmet came off on Fistric's hand and Fistric then punched Nystrom with it as the two fought. A match penalty is, by rule, given when the officials feel there was an "intent to injure."
Fistric, 23, has seven points -- six of them assists -- in 44 games. His plus-12 rating is a team-high. The Stars face Colorado on Friday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.